Career choices are undergoing paradigm shifts as millennials enter the job market globally. Today’s young aspirants do not just look for a decent salary or a safe occupation while making career choices; they value purpose over pay-cheques. These young minds want a profession which helps them make a difference to society. Though money is a potential motivator, for today’s generation, happiness has fast emerged as the true goal.
Millennials also aspire for their careers to leave space for life outside of work. For them, the ideal job is one that offers flexible timing including options for working from home and the freedom to work outside of the traditional 9-5 concept. They recognize that work is important, but for them the quality of life ultimately takes precedence.
A precursor in understanding, implementing and succeeding in this idea is Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee of Kolkata. Chatterjee is an interdisciplinary artist with specialization in spoken words and theatre. Apart from acting in a popular Zee Bangla soap TRINOYONI, he also acts in a play directed by Sohag Sen, one of the senior theatre personalities in Bengali theatre. Chatterjee wears a motley hat, working as the curator of India’s only solo arts festival MONOLOGUES while running SPCkraft, Kolkata’s only interdisciplinary arts collective.
In an elaborate tête-à-tête with Baishali Mukherjee of stoodnt.com, Chaterjee shares his interesting story of making it big in the gig-economy by taking up an alternative and unconventional career path.
A selected excerpt –
It takes a lot of courage to step aside from the mainstream traditional career choices and decide taking up an unconventional professional path. What is your story in this regard? What made you decide for the career you are in today?
I have had a very chequered corporate career and my last assignment has been as the Business Head of IPAN(JWT). Before that, I was a part of the launch team for BIGFM, where I served as the PR manager for the eastern region. And all these have been a part of my journey when I started way back in 2003 after passing out of the B-school. My heart always fell for performance arts and I was testing waters with interdisciplinary arts, a new calling during those years. Nothing or no one decided for my career as an independent artist and I think my passion and perseverance paved my way.
How easy/difficult was it to establish yourself?
The question is how did I want to “establish” myself. I am not a Bollywood or Tollywood star and so I didn’t fall into brackets or boxes. It’s a very difficult and chaotic path but I knew my alleys.
What were the challenges?
The challenges were financial and gender-centric. People didn’t understand in the beginning what to pay me for—my brains, my acumen, my aesthetics or my artistry. Today when I run SPCkraft, my interdisciplinary arts collective, the challenges have only multiplied. But then who said that the drive wouldn’t be rocky.
What/who helped you achieve success?
My mentor in media has been Shubhojit Ganguly and the late Abhijit Dasgupta, the erstwhile editor of Calcutta Times. These two scions helped me to handle my vulnerabilities better.
Your advice to those looking for building a career in unconventional career paths?
The only advice to those pursuing unidentified career choices is to keep moving towards innovating genres and trends. They are headed for the best and they will achieve finally.
Do you think it is important to think out of the box when it comes to career choice for millennials?
Did the 90s ever have arts managers as a portfolio? I know of many millenials who are following this career ground and yes it’s important to think out of the box, if you care to be remembered.
How important are academics for someone looking for a career outside the traditional space?
When I was pursuing management in my post graduation I initially thought it was meaningless because all that made sense to me was the literary arts. Today I can boast of this that I am among the few who has written his own brand story. Ofcourse my management education held me through. Academics is crucially important to make you have a perspective of things.
What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is yet to come. As of now, it’s nowhere close.
You just launched your line of fashion accessory. What is the story behind the launch?
The only rationale of having my own brand of fashion accessories is that I was looking for newer avenues of artistic expression and this is also an extension of my persona. I hope SUJOY PROSAD FASHION ACCESSORIES creates new stories of arts.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years hence I want to make films and may be write a book.
Wind beneath your wings!!